The Warrior Ultramarathon is one of the pioneering ultramarathon races in Cebu. It’s on its 3rd edition this year.
It’s one of Cebu’s ultramarathon races where it attracts a perfect mix of runners: from the newbie, elite fast runners, to seasoned ultra runners. It’s a race where runners who wish to be de-virginized in the ultramarathon distance look forward to. It’s a also a race where Cebu people will get a feel of who are to-look-forward to runners in the long distance races. But for the few or many, it’s a race that we fondly remember as which gave Melinda Ponce, a legendary female runner of Cebu, her first ultramarathon championship.
Now let’s get to know one of the warriors that made this ultramarathon possible, and thriving. Well, getting to “know” is actually an overstatement because how do you write about Garry Garcia?! The guy who eats pain at endurance sports, while at the same time he makes sure that everyone in his hotel (Be Resorts, info here >>) have a flawless painless experience.
1. Garry can show to us that true warrior can be in many different forms, and different kind of battles…
2. A true warrior runs away to solve his problem.
He was a triathlete back in his younger days. But he stopped when he got busy with his university studies abroad; then ending up working in the hotel and resort industry after school did not help much with his physical wellness. Until he was diagnosed as “clinically obese,” his story into running can be the typical that-fat-guy-who-wants-to-get-healthy battle.
But it got a bit twisted when he chanced upon the stories of Haide Acuna (read her blog here >>) and Bro. Carlo Bacalla’s BDM Ultramarathon, which is considered the grand-daddy of ultramarathons in the Philippines. It made the battle of losing weight through running became more than that.
3. No road / battle to conquer? No problem. A true warrior does not take the road less traveled. He creates path for others to take on. He will devise his own battle.
By 2011, Garry finished the BDM Ultramarathon, and at the same year made a pact that he would run 12 ultramarathons or marathons in 2011. How did he do that? It deserves a book.
It was Garry’s crazy idea of running 12 ultramarathons or marathons that gave birth to the The Warrior 50K Ultramarathon in 2011. Having missed one ultramarathon in Cebu back then, he thought of creating one to make up for it.
4. A true warrior creates more *
special diots warriors.
From the goal of going to battle 12 ultramarathons or marathons, he ended up with 18, and a battalion of more *
sepcial idiots “ultramarathon runners” courtesy of The Warrior Ultramarathon. (*They say it takes a special idiot to run an ultramarathon.)
5. A true warrior’s victory is not landing a position in a successful troop, but getting a troop to be successful.
It is probably a wonder why this hotelier whom we could imagine to be lying in a hammock sipping margarita at the beach instead “punishes” his self in races, in which there’s not much chance of him stepping on a podium, and he might even finish without any one waiting for him. (Read on his 1st Cebu Century Ultra Marathon 104.5KM experience, “Travails of running 104.5 kilometers alone,” featured in Sun-Star here >>.)
It can be rooted from what and who he is. He’s the type who always goes for the unconventional route. Being in the hotel industry, he prefers managing independent type of hotel over chain hotel, which has a more well-defined set-up and has an existing network of support. In a foot race, independent hotels can be likened to ultramarathons where risk and uncertainty may be the default setting, and a training program to follow is almost non-existent.
And, so it seems that Garry also has a different definition of victory. Victory is not landing a position in a successful business, but getting a business to be successful.
It was 2009 when he landed in Lapu-lapu City, not for an ultramarathon or triathlon race but for a different battle.
Like getting a “clinically obese” diagnosis, he was handed a hotel that needed to be shaped up. The hotel needed to be ripped off from its old image which was under a different name and management, then build it up again with a new identity.
6. A true warrior may not finish first; but they can last come hell or no-water-station.
Because he knows that winning does not only belong to those fastest to finish; but winning may also mean the one who has the will to endure the longest in a race. And, this seems to be true in real life. Having Be Resorts continuously racing, now on to its 5 years under his management, is an everyday triumph to a bigger win.
“Races are merely stages of the big race of life and enjoying the gift of being able to run is the prize itself.” – Garry Garcia
7. A true warrior finishes what he started. In Garry’s case, a passionate warrior has no finish line.
Unlike in endurance sports races, managing a hotel does not have a finish line, and can even be a daunting 24/7 non-stop race without a lack of very stiff competition.
But he always gets through because physically he may be limited, but he makes up for it with his boundless passion for his craft and industry.
“Never a day did I go to work, I go everyday to do my passion.”
8. “No one is left behind.” A true warrior delivers more than this.
A true warrior knows that success is more meaningful and lasting when it reaches beyond his troop. Thus, just like how he created a battalion of ultramarathon runners through The Warrior Ultramarathon, he is also active in helping move the tourism industry forward. He is the HRRAC (Hotel Resorts, Restaurant Association of Cebu) Vice-President for resorts, which aims to promote the hospitality / tourism industry of Cebu, and the Philippines.
Why be passionate on tourism industry? For him, “Tourism is one industry which cannot be outsourced.” It’s a gift he can contribute to the community that cannot just be easily taken away.
Thus, it’s a positive thing that endurance sports: such as marathons, ultramarathons, triathlons, are becoming active in Philippines as sports attracts and binds people of different races. Sports tourism is one best way for us to gain a more varied visitors to come to our country.
We just don’t know The Warrior Ultramarathon, and so with other races in Cebu and Philippines, will soon be a battalion of different nationalities.
9. True warrior does no blood compact, only gives blood.
Garry is also active in Philippine Red Cross – Lapu-lapu & Cordova Chapter. This year, their annual fun run to raise funds for the benefit of Red Cross will become a marathon. This shows that runners are willing to become zombies in races just to give blood. (Check Red Cross 143 Marathon for Humanity – 42K,21K,6K, Nov. 10, 2013 here >>.)
10. A true warrior may lose fight or fail at things. But he will never give up at pursuing to become the best of his self. More of, he is also not afraid to sacrifice for others’ pursuit of “betterness.”
After all the ultramarathon, and now the triathlon battles (he finished the Tabuelan 111 & Cebu IM 70.3) he conquered, I guess Garry will always be best remembered as the friend who would give up his race to support or pace friends on their running. The elite may get you awed with their physical prowess, but Garry’s mere presence in a race can be very comforting that could poke you to do the impossible.
You know, that guy who takes off a day from his General Manager duties to be your marshal in the last stretch of AWUM (All-Women Ultramarathon).
Now, unleash the warrior in you, BE registered now at ARC Cebu, contact number 254 9625, more details here >>.